Jay Pierce knew he was running unopposed for a Celina City Council seat, but he decided to put up campaign signs anyway.
“I didn't want the community to think I was taking it for granted,” he said.
For him, putting up signs with his name in the runup to the election was a way to engage the community, and it also had to do with his goal of bringing a sense of transparency to the table.
“I want the citizens of Celina to know they can trust me from the get-go, that I'm never going to take their support for granted,” Pierce said. “I'll listen to every citizen and their situation, and if there's anything we can do to help, I definitely want to help.”
Pierce was poised for weeks to become the next Place 2 spot on the City Council, and after Saturday, he had 723 votes to ensure his new role, according to unofficial results from Collin and Denton counties. He said he filed to run because he wanted to help make positive change in Celina and help bring unity.
Pierce said he envisions his role as being a sort of liaison between citizens and businesses and the city.
As a part of that vision, Pierce said he wants to create a small business committee comprising 10 to 20 small business owners who can meet quarterly with a City Council member and city staff to share both concerns and what the city is doing right. Pierce also envisions something similar happening with homeowner’s associations and residents as a way to hear from citizens directly in an informal setting. He also has some goals when it comes to transparency.
“I would like to help the city put policies and procedures into place for more transparency for citizens,” Pierce said.
Pierce wasn’t the only one on the ballot for a City Council spot on May 1. Incumbent City Councilman Andy “Hop” Hopkins secured another term on the council that night after winning 62% of the votes compared to the 38% that challenger Lanford Rodgers won, according to unofficial results from Collin and Denton counties.
“I feel called to do this and I'm beyond happy and humbled that the citizens allow me to do this, because it means the world to me,” Hopkins said.
He said he has shown experience and authenticity about his vision for the city and that the margin of his victory made it clear that people believed in him.
“I think people saw that we're headed in the right direction and that we're all on the same page,” Hopkins said.
With a new term on the horizon, Hopkins said he wants to continue focusing on preserving the heritage of the downtown area.
“But we're growing rapidly, and managing these new neighborhoods that come in is very important,” he added.
He said that means making sure developers come in with lots of green space and park space as well as connectivity.
“And of course we do it while we're managing the growth,” he added. “We're making sure that our first responders have what they need, we're building fire stations and police stations, and those things are in the planning stages right now, so those are going to be big focuses of ours going forward.”
Hopkins said he was excited for Pierce to join the council and that he would be an excellent addition to the team. However, Hopkins said, Pierce will have big shoes to fill given the service that outgoing Councilman Wayne Nabors has given the city.
“He’ll be dearly missed,” Hopkins said.